Thank you, Corliss Williamson.
I ask again why this guy doesn't even get a look when Peja Stojakovic goes down, or why he's not getting 15 minutes every game. I know you've got Francisco Garcia - an explosive, young, hard-working player - in the swing spot that's going to take some minutes at the 3, and I know there are times when you want Brian Skinner and Brad Miller in the game, clogging the 4 and 5.
But Corliss needs more love. He proved it against Houston. And I think he's proved it all season.
Not by the usual metrics, he hasn't. His rebound rate is lower than Bonzi, Kenneth Cornelius, Reef, Brad, Skinner and Jamal Sampson. (Note: Jamal Sampson is only included in any statistical analysis for humor factors.) His turnover rate is atrocious and he doesn't get many assists. His per-minute scoring is solid but exceeded by Ronnie "The Threat" Price, who happens to be an undrafted rookie point guard with a lower usage rate. His shooting clip is mediocre, especially for an inside player. He hacks like a lumberjack - 5.8 personal fouls per 40 minutes.
So, tell me again why Corliss Williamson has the best plus-minus on the team, and has been in that top spot pretty much all season?
Survey says... defense. I honestly never considered Nasty as a superior defender at this point in his career - he's undersized, he fouls a lot, he gets a substantial portion of his rebounds by banging around on the offensive end and thus seemingly not particularly adept at boxing out. He doesn't block shots, he doesn't get a whole lot of steals. He's strong, no doubt - but less athletic because of it.
But hell. When Corliss is on the court, opponents score 12.5 points per 48 minutes less than when he's not on the court. When Nasty is playing, opponents' defensive rebounding percent is 2.4 percent less than when he's not out there. Opponent effective field goal percentage? A whopping 7.4 percent less when Corliss is on the court.
Looking at Nasty's most used lineups, one factor could be Jason Hart. The Hitman has very good opponents' shooting numbers, and as of Jan. 9, 62 percent of Corliss's minutes came when Hart was also on the floor.
Hart, of course, has pretty crappy plus-minus numbers. I blame this on his anemic offense - sure, it's getting better now, but there were two months where Hitman was playing 15 minutes every game and getting absolutely no shots to fall. The defense is clearly better when Hart is on the floor, both visually and statistically.
But Nasty improves the offense, too! The offense is 1.8 points better per 48 minutes when Corliss is on the court - a paltry advantage, but an advantage nonetheless. The team's effective field goal percentage is 1.6 percent better and free throw frequency is nominally better. Who knows why, as assists drop and turnovers rise when Nasty comes in. Bibby, Bonzi, Kenneth, Skinner and Dallas shoot tons better when Corliss is on the court, while Hart, Garcia, Reef and Miller shoot varying amounts worse when paired with Nasty.
There's only thing that can help us better explain the phenomenon that is Corliss Williamson: More nasty!